New Mammal, the Hog-Nosed Rat, Discovered in Indonesia—Twice on the Same Day

The hog-nosed rat (Hyorhinomys stuempkei) was found in 2013 on a mountain in Sulawesi, an island in Indonesia. Kevin C. Rowe, Senior Curator of Mammals, Museum Victoria

For as long as modern science has existed, it has remained unaware of the hog-nosed rat, a big-eared rodent that lives on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia.

But then, on one fateful day in 2013, it was discovered. Twice. At the same time. As described in a recent press release announcing the findings, Louisiana State University's Jake Esselstyn and Kevin Rowe, from Museum Victoria, set off in opposite directions from their camp on the second day of the field season. They both happened upon an odd-looking new rat in their traps. When they returned to camp, the two scientists realized they'd found the same previously unknown species.

The animal, described in a study published Tuesday in the Journal of Mammalogy, has big ears that are one-fifth the length of its body, as well as a large, flat, pink nose with forward-facing nostrils. It also has very long, forward-facing lower teeth and is a carnivore that feeds on various smaller animals.

The scientists dubbed it Hyorhinomys stuempkei, and it represents not only a new species but a new genus as well (the taxonomic grouping above species). It lives at an elevation of 1 mile (1,600 meters) up the slopes of Mount Dako, an area of Sulawesi that remains poorly explored.